Following another disappointing season marred by injury troubles and an early exit from championship contention, it seemed as though the New Orleans Pelicans were going to take drastic measures amid a vote of no confidence in their current core. One of the more likely steps the Pelicans were going to take was to trade away Brandon Ingram as he'll be entering the final year of his deal.

However, heading into the middle of July, Ingram is still a member of the Pelicans franchise, and New Orleans has instead bolstered their core with the addition of former All-Star Dejounte Murray for the low price of Larry Nance Jr., Dyson Daniels, and two first-round picks. The Pelicans reportedly remain willing to entertain trade offers for the 26-year-old forward, but there remains a huge elephant in the room that's proving to be a major roadblock to a potential deal.

With Brandon Ingram being in the final year of his deal, any team that will be trading for him will have to sign him to an extension, lest they risk trading legitimate assets away for a player who can walk in free agency. But signing Ingram to an extension requires a significant financial commitment that teams simply may not be willing to make at the moment, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

“The reason that the Pelicans want to trade Brandon Ingram isn't because he's not a good player. It's because he wants a $200 million contract extension and they don't want to give it. And whatever team trades for him inherits the same exact situation,” Windhorst said in an appearance on 850 ESPN Cleveland radio.

Indeed, in the financial landscape of today's NBA, it's more difficult for teams to stockpile on players who make upwards of $35 to $40 million a year. Teams are becoming increasingly wary of crossing the second tax apron, as this basically puts a choke hold on teams' means of improving their rosters.

But again, Brandon Ingram is someone who averaged 21/5/6 this past season, and he's right in the middle of the prime years of his career. With wings who can do it all always being a necessity for teams looking to contend for a championship, expect there to be a team that bites the bullet and trades for Ingram with the knowledge that they'll have to give him big bucks soon.

Where can the Pelicans trade Brandon Ingram? Will they even deal him away?

The Pelicans have assembled one of the deepest cores in the association. Dejounte Murray might not be the All-Star player he once was, but perhaps in a smaller role in New Orleans, he could go back to being his best two-way self. Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum are still around, Ingram is a swiss-army knife on the wing, and the team has top-tier role players such as Trey Murphy, Herb Jones, and Jose Alvarado, to name a few, ready to provide support.

But the Pelicans remain as ripe for a trade as any team there is in the NBA. At the moment, New Orleans is severely lacking in depth at the center position. They trust Yves Missi to become a good player, but he's only a rookie; not every athletic freshman center can be as impactful as Dereck Lively II was in his rookie season. They also added Daniel Theis, but Theis profiles as more of a backup center at this point of his career.

Thus, there remains a possibility that the Pelicans go the blockbuster route and try to acquire their long-term starting center in exchange for Ingram. The Cleveland Cavaliers still loom as one of the more logical trade destinations for the 27-year-old forward, but there remains a few roadblocks in the Cavs' potential pursuit of the one-time All-Star.

For one, Windhorst noted that the Cavs will have to trade away Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert to acquire Ingram just to match salaries. Will they be willing to do that? Moreover, the Cavs will exceed the second apron if they re-sign Ingram to his desired contract; will Cleveland's ownership be willing to stomach shelling out that kind of money for a core of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Ingram, and Evan Mobley?

Brett Siegel, NBA insider for ClutchPoints, brought up the Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Detroit Pistons, and Utah Jazz as a few other teams that could be in the running for Ingram. The Magic have Wendell Carter Jr. (although they are not willing to trade him, per reports), the Blazers have Deandre Ayton and Robert Williams III, the Pistons have Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart, while the Jazz have Walker Kessler as centers who could be potential centerpieces of an Ingram trade.